Why can’t I use my Disney Armed Forces Salute tickets at Disney World or Disneyland during Spring Break or Christmas?
This is a common response that I hear when military families first learn that their military Disney tickets are not valid on certain days.
Since January 2009 the Disney Armed Forces Salute has always had days that the special military discount tickets were not able to be used for admission to Disney’s theme parks or for resort room discounts. Disney calls these days Blockout Dates because the discounts are Blocked from use (some people mistakenly refer to them as blackout dates).
These Blockouts have historically included the week-long period which includes Christmas and New Years, a week or two during Spring Break, and well in the past the Fourth of July was also included.
Each year the Blockout Dates are slightly different, depending on school schedules which affect Disney’s projected attendance levels.
Blockout Dates for the 2024 Disney Armed Forces Salutes
Walt Disney World
Disney Armed Forces Salute TICKET Blockout Dates at Disney World
There are Ticket Blockout dates for Walt Disney World for the 2024 Salute offer period!
- March 24 through April 6, 2024
- November 24 through November 30, 2024
Disney Armed Forces Salute ROOM Blockout Dates at Disney World
- None were announced for the 2024 Walt Disney World Armed Forces Salute Room Offer
Disney Armed Forces Salute TICKET Blockout Dates at the Disneyland Resort
- None are listed on the Disneyland site
Disney Armed Forces Salute ROOM Blockout Dates at the Disneyland Resort
- None were announced for the 2024 Disneyland Armed Forces Salute Room Offer
Why Are There Blockout Dates?
Many very frustrated readers have contacted me both recently and over the last couple of years, to ask why there are blockouts. They always want to know, “Why won’t Disney allow me to use the discount military tickets during the only time that I can go to Disney?”
Many feel that since it’s a military salute there should be no exclusion dates.
They don’t want to pull the kids out of school to use the discount at another time when it is available.
Disney’s Motivation for the Salute
Many take Disney’s Armed Forces Salute at the title’s face value, that Disney has made this offer due to their support of the troops. While that definitely is a factor in Disney’s reasoning they do have other more immediate reasons to make these offers.
Many new to military life may be unaware that the recent semi-constant Military Salute offers are a rarity in the history of the Disney Company. In the past Disney did offer one free ticket to military members after Operation Desert Storm. But during the twenty-first century these offers have only come at times of reduced theme park/resort attendance and are designed to draw more people to the Disney vacation destinations.
The current round of Disney Salutes began 4 January 2009 after the start of the late 2008 Financial Crisis.
Prior to this timeframe the previous special offer was in the first half of 2002 during the post 9/11 travel industry downturn.
Prior to the Salute offers all we in the military had in the way of a Disney discount was the slightly discounted regular military discounted Magic Your Way tickets.
Disney Attendance Levels
Disney’s main purpose behind the blockout dates is to dissuade you from coming then, as there are already way too many people in the Disney theme parks!
If you check any Disney Guide Book you’ll note that the timeframes of Disney’s military salute blockout dates are during peak attendance periods. During these timeframes Disney often closes their theme parks to arriving guests during the day due to maximum attendance levels. Only those staying on property are allowed in, others are turned away.
The way Disney looks at this is strictly from a business perspective. If they can fill the parks during those timeframes and actually have to turn away people willing to pay full price, then they’d be crazy to let those paying half price for military tickets block those spots.
How This Helps You
The above is a pragmatic look at Disney’s reasoning. But here is my positive outlook on the situation.
These high attendance days, for lack of better words are simply miserable in the theme parks. There are just way too many people, lines are unbearable, and you’ll be unable to accomplish all that you’d like to do.
I think it’s really a blessing in disguise that you can’t use your Armed Forces Salute tickets during Spring Break or other peak times. It forces you to re-evaluate your vacation schedule and plan to go at another time. You’ll end up thanking yourself because your experience will be so much better during lower attendance periods.
Yes, this may involve taking the kids out of school, but you can take along class/homework and make opportunities to turn the vacation into a learning experience.
Share your thoughts on Blockout Dates in the comments section below!
This MDT Post By: Steve Bell
Steve is the the Military Disney Tips Founder. He a retired U.S. Military Member who's been touring the Disney Parks since 1971! Steve's mission is to help military families with their Disney vacations in every way. Check out Steve's Bio.
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